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Solar-module imports need 3-4 months to recover

Illustration of a large hand placing a solar panel into desert sand

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Solar importers and manufacturers say they can begin fulfilling U.S. orders again in the next three to four months — and perhaps as soon as two weeks, industry insiders tell Axios.

Why it matters: The recovery that these sources are predicting means financing and deal-making prospects remain bright after clouds gathered over the sector earlier this year.

Of note: The Biden administration's tariff ruling yesterday was significant for the industry, but it wasn't immediately clear how quickly those manufacturing and shipping pipelines could ramp back up.

  • Business leaders tell Axios that the recovery will be quick, jumpstarting an industry brought to a near halt by the tariffs.

Driving the news: Solar-module factories in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam — the countries targeted by the potential tariffs — have significant spare capacity, experts say.

What they're saying: Jackson Lin, president of module manufacturer Allesun, says his company's factories will resume full manufacturing in as little as two weeks.

  • "The capacity is there, the machines are there, the lines are there — we just need the employees," Lin tells Axios.

Yes, but: Industry analysts, such as FTI's Xu Chen, peg the timeline at three to six months. "It should be a relatively short period of time," Chen tells Axios.

Be smart: Big players with existing contracts will be able to recover much more quickly than smaller importers.

  • Energy giant AES, for example, had simply reallocated its module orders to its overseas markets.
  • "We’ll be able to get the modules immediately," AES Clean Energy president Leonardo Moreno tells Axios. "For a lot of smaller players who didn’t have that relationship, it may take a few months."
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